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  • I'm sorry.

  • It looks like a dog.

  • It's a cow.

  • Do I just take these off or just fold them under all of this?

  • You cannot say that either.

  • Right.

  • Go on then.

  • OK.

  • Brexit...

  • the absolute State of the Union.

  • Robert, the Conservative and Unionist party

  • has been in charge of the British government

  • now since 2010.

  • But Boris Johnson...

  • It's a completely new government.

  • ...this Conservative and Unionist prime minister...

  • Totally unrelated.

  • ...may go down in history...

  • or not...

  • as the prime minister who presided over the United

  • Kingdom actually falling apart.

  • So I thought we should discuss this.

  • Because it's not unserious.

  • It is one of the ironies of the Brexit process

  • that a plan designed to make Britain

  • stronger and freer in the world could actually end Britain.

  • So it's a big issue.

  • While you're chatting, I'm just going

  • to use my famous map-making skills here

  • to do England and Scotland.

  • A bit like a tree, but you know.

  • As we've established, I'm not really in a position

  • to criticise.

  • OK.

  • Some people didn't like my fish last time.

  • People were rude about the fish.

  • They're just wrong.

  • They're just wrong.

  • It completely shattered my confidence.

  • So I've not put any borders in right now, because that's

  • what we're discussing.

  • So at the moment, we have...

  • hang on a minute.

  • We've got the Republic of Ireland, we've got the UK,

  • encompassing Northern Ireland as well,

  • but we've got some very, very, very unhappy Scots,

  • and we've got the Welsh quietly getting on with it because they

  • also voted pro-Brexit.

  • Quite a lot of angry English.

  • Quite a lot of angry English.

  • And then, of course, we've got Ireland staying in the EU.

  • So the Republic of Ireland stays in the EU.

  • Scotland is very unhappy because it wants to stay in the EU

  • and is getting a further boost to Scottish nationalism

  • and to the separatist movement.

  • And then we've got a lot of really uneasy outcomes

  • to the Brexit process so far, in terms

  • of how far Northern Ireland remains both in the UK

  • and in various European arrangements.

  • So I literally, at this point, don't

  • know where to put my European flag,

  • other than not on the British mainland.

  • We could put it in Northern Ireland

  • and pretend we'd come up with the Northern Ireland

  • flag, which we didn't do.

  • Don't write in.

  • No, do write in, but only if you're going to...

  • Yes, but to Miranda.

  • So the whole thing is sort of up for grabs because of the Brexit

  • process.

  • The most dramatic in recent days has

  • been huge changes in the Republic of Ireland,

  • where Sinn Fein, the Irish nationalist party,

  • have done incredibly well.

  • They could end up in government.

  • ...in the elections there and could end up in government.

  • And they are talking about pushing

  • the idea of referendums, both in the Republic of Ireland

  • and in Northern Ireland, for reunification of Ireland.

  • This is back on the agenda in a way

  • that it hasn't been for a long time.

  • It is, although there are two points that we have to know.

  • One is that it is absolutely for the British government

  • to decide whether this poll takes place,

  • for the UK government.

  • It has an absolute veto on whether that happens.

  • In the north.

  • In the north, yes.

  • Which therefore means it's of no use

  • if you don't have that poll in the north.

  • Secondly, although completely Sinn Fein are a nationalist

  • party, it wasn't a wave of nationalist sentiment...

  • No, that's true.

  • ...that got them to their success in the Irish election.

  • It was much more to do with the state of the Irish economy

  • and anger with the two established parties.

  • So it will be interesting to see how they push this line.

  • Even if they're in coalition talks, et cetera,

  • will they make this some sort of red line,

  • or will they make a lot of noise about it?

  • They have to.

  • Mary Lou McDonald's talked about having one

  • within about five years, hasn't she?

  • She said she wants one.

  • Well, during the last few days of the Irish election

  • she was talking about having one very fast indeed,

  • within a year.

  • But they seem to have slightly rowed back on that.

  • So who knows?

  • And obviously, in coalition negotiations a lot of this

  • would...

  • Obviously, what's interesting is if they do give in to coalition

  • in the republic, which, as we said, is not a guarantee,

  • they will be in government in both sides of the Irish border,

  • which is quite something.

  • It really is quite something.

  • So the polling I was reading shows that in the republic

  • there is quite a healthy majority in favour of holding

  • these referendums in both parts of the island.

  • It's 57 per cent in favour of actually consulting the people

  • in both areas.

  • But as you say, the UK government

  • decides whether that would go ahead in the north because

  • of the Good Friday Agreement.

  • And that's there.

  • And in fact, Leo Varadkar - who's

  • had a terrible time in the last few days,

  • because, obviously, he's been in government in Dublin -

  • he has said that a referendum on unification

  • would be really dangerous at the moment.

  • It would make a bad situation worse

  • in the north, because it's really quite unresolved still

  • what happens to the economy in the north, what happens

  • to the status of people in the north who

  • were happy with the kind of equilibrium

  • after the Good Friday Agreement but are now

  • unhappy about Brexit.

  • The Good Friday Agreement and being

  • in the European Union, both Ireland and Britain,

  • essentially calmed the whole Northern Irish question

  • for quite a long time.

  • Apart from those who were most committed, for a lot of people,

  • this is OK.

  • We can live with this.

  • It's going to be very interesting to see

  • whether the terms, the special arrangements worked out

  • for Northern Ireland, are enough to keep people content.

  • As Dominic Rabb hilariously said,

  • they were a fantastic deal for Northern Ireland.

  • The ambiguity.

  • Exactly.

  • The half in, half out.

  • So it is possible that when the dust settles

  • people look at it all and think, well, not much has changed.

  • The issue, however, is going to be the border

  • checks going from Northern Ireland

  • to the British mainland.

  • OK, so what we should do is we should emphasise

  • that the Brexit withdrawal agreement has actually

  • inserted this, which is a sort of customs border,

  • in the Irish Sea.

  • A regulatory one, yeah.

  • A regulatory border.

  • Which Theresa May, when she was prime minister,

  • said no British prime minister would ever

  • agree to this sort of thing.

  • But it has been agreed to.

  • So it now makes the mainland UK different in its relationship

  • to the EU to Northern Ireland.

  • This is a huge deal.

  • It is.

  • It is.

  • I think we should build a bridge.

  • We should build a bridge.

  • Good idea.

  • Who else thinks that's a good idea?